Now that it’s September, it’s time to acclimate to the change in routine school brings. Morning routines begin earlier, lunches have to be packed, after-school activities and pickups abound and homework resumes. Many parents struggle with getting back into the swing of things when it comes to homework. Rightly so, as homework isn’t always a favorite activity for children — or parents.
8 Tips to transition into a school routine
- Review the schedule for the week.
- Create a schedule with the routine clearly stated.
- Start small.
- Review with your children prior to starting the schedule.
- Reward positive behavior and following the schedule.
- Adjust, tweak and edit over the course of school year.
- Be mindful of distractions.
- Lastly, pat yourself on the back.
Decide how you would like the afternoons to look when the children return home from school or after-school activities. You may want to coordinate with your spouse and/or caregivers to ensure that everyone provides input and stays on the same page.
Feel free to put visuals or pictures next to each line item on the schedule. Visual reminders are powerful, especially when starting or re-starting a routine.
Small initial goals increase the likelihood of success. Help your kids ease back into this routine. If you ultimately want them to have a snack, walk the dog, read for 15 minutes, complete math, spelling, science and write in a journal, you may want to start with snack, walk the dog and read. Gradually add other tasks.
Give them the chance to ask questions, provide input and get used to how it is supposed to go.
You don’t need to provide pricey or time-consuming rewards. Celebrate with an extra five minutes on the iPad, a scoop of ice cream, an extra bedtime story or even a quick game of their choice. Focus on the quality of time instead of the quantity of money spent!
Things change from September through June, so it is important to update as necessary. Typically, parents can update once per academic quarter as that is a very organic time to do so.
Tasks requiring sustained attention require a distraction-free zone. Turn off the television, silence cell phones and let out the dog if he is prone to bark or provide a cute furry distracting face. It helps if all children in the household are on similar schedules, so they motivate one another to stay on track.
Putting something like this transition plan into place will benefit your whole family. Success may start small and be gradual. Any kind of success is worth celebrating! Have a wonderful school year!
For more parenting tips, please visit childmind.org.